Announcing the 2015 Rooftop Filmmaker’s Fund Grantees!

Meet the 2015 Rooftop Filmmakers Fund Grantees – a diverse group of talented, up-and-coming filmmakers to look out for!

Every year, Rooftop Films goes beyond film exhibition to extend support to independent filmmakers through the Rooftop Filmmakers’ Fund Grants. Those grants make use of  community and partner support to provide grants to filmmakers whose work has screened at Rooftop Films.

The GarboNYC Feature Film Grants, the largest awarded as part of the Rooftop Filmmakers Fund this year, were awarded to directors Kitty Green and Sebastian Silva. Green will receive a monetary grant of $15,000 to help finish her new film, “Casting JonBenet,” and Silva will receive a $10,000 grant to support his film, “Demon Me.”

Selected for her ability to approach a complex situation with narrative nuance and filmic innovation, Kitty Green was awarded for her film ‘Casting JonBenet’ a sly and stylized documentary about the infamous murder of child model JonBenet Ramsey, that will be crafted using casting tapes and recreations by people from the community to create an emotional investigation of the case and its ramifications.  Kitty Green’s previous films include “Ukraine is Not a Brothel,” which won the 2015 AACTA Award for Best Feature Length Documentary, and “The Face of Ukraine: Casting Oksana Baiul,” which won the Jury Award for best non-fiction short documentary at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. Sebastian Silva’s work includes “the Maid,” “Nasty Baby,” and “Crystal Fairy,” all of which have won numerous awards around the world.

In total, fourteen different grants were awarded to Rooftop Films alumni in 2015, including grants supported by Brigade Marketing, Technological Cinevideo Services, Eastern Effects, Edgeworx Studios, Downtown Community Television, and The Adrienne Shelley Foundation.

Check out the full list below, and make sure to watch out for these fantastic upcoming projects!

The 2015 Rooftop Filmmakers Fund Grantees:

Rooftop Films / Brigade Marketing Festival Publicity Grant:
Anna Rose Holmer, The Fits

Toni, an 11-year-old tomboyish boxer, lands a spot on an after-school drill team in the West End community of Cincinnati. Enamored by the power and confidence of the team, Toni eagerly absorbs routines, masters drills, and even pierces her own ears to fit in. As Toni descends deeper into the girls’ world, the lingering nostalgia for her brother’s guidance fades away. We witness the joy of her first friendships and her discovery of dance. Yet, she grapples with her individual identity amid her newly defined social sphere. At its heart, “The Fits” is a meditation on movement as seen from the perspective of teenage girls, juxtaposing the precise, powerful, and intentional movements of drill with subconscious, spontaneous, and uncontrolled movements of collective hysterics. “The Fits” was developed and produced through the Venice Biennale Cinema College, and had its World Premiere at the Venice Film Festival in 2015.

Rooftop Films / Technological Cinevideo Services Camera Grant:
Khalik Allah, Jamaica

Can the ancestral herbs of Jamaica whose efficacy in healing the body is undeniable, also be the answer to the larger issues that plague the island of Jamaica? Using intimate portraiture and stylistic innovation, Khalik Allah is depicting the undepicted. Using an out-of-sync polyphonic audio track with a uniquely beautiful slow motion video component creates a break in the viewer’s conciseness which invites them to participate in the film in a similar way one would when reading a novel. Allah said, “This film is an herbal and spiritual take on Jamaica told from the inside out. It is an intimate quest of Faith through the mind of Jamaica’s rarest, most remote inhabitants: the Maroons. Throughout the film the question will be raised as to “what’s the answer?” The answer to the problems of poverty, crime and governmental negligence that plague the country.” Production on the film has already begun, with additional shooting continuing into 2016.

Rooftop Films / Eastern Effects Equipment Grant:
Lauren Wolkstein & Chris Radcliff, The Strange Ones

Mysterious events surround the travels of two brothers as they make their way across a remote American landscape. On the surface all seems normal, but what appears to be a simple vacation soon gives way to something more complex, dark, and potentially deadly. Wolkstein and Radcliff said, “We want to create a film where a seemingly simple story gives way to multiple possibilities, and where objective truth is a perpetually elusive thing. As the film progresses, it becomes clear that the brothers relationship may not be what we think, and the trip may hold disturbing implications. The characters are of the type that we consistently find intriguing—those who find themselves navigating complicated emotional terrain, who lie as easily as they tell the truth, and keep their secrets hidden.” Wolkstein and Radcliff plan to shoot the film in the summer of 2016.

Rooftop Films / Edgeworx Post-Production Grant:
Anja Marquardt, Wolf

“Wolf” is a fictional feature film about a real-life elite unit of Native American trackers who patrol the Arizona border zone, targeting drug and human trafficking.

Rooftop Films / DCTV Color Correction Feature Film Grant:
Sarah J. Christman, Swarm Season

“Bees taught us how to die.” Against the backdrop of social and environmental uprising, a traveler encounters an endangered species in its last gasp. Filmed on the Big Island of Hawaii, “Swarm Season” combines observational documentary and speculative fiction to reexamine the relationship between human beings and the natural environment in the past, present, and future. If honeybees—one of the most resilient and cooperative species on the planet—are being pushed to the point of extinction, what kind of future do humans have on earth?  Production on the film has already begun, and Christman aims to complete the movie by the end of 2016.

Rooftop Films / DCTV Equipment and Services Short Film Grant:
Ryan Mauskopf, Sloof’s Supershop

“Sloof’s Supershop” is the beginning of a cartoon series about a big red fuzzy wizard-scientist who, along with his swiss-army robot, runs a fantastical shop where people can buy potions, genies, and everyday time machines. Upstairs, however, in Sloof’s amazing laboratory, unbelievable things happen all the time.

Rooftop Films / DCTV Equipment and Services Short Film Grant and Rooftop Filmmakers’ Fund Short Film Grant:
Nathan Kensinger, Managed Retreat

“Managed Retreat” is a short documentary portrait  of three communities in Staten Island inundated by Hurricane Sandy, now purchased by the State government, to be torn down and returned to nature as rising sea levels reclaim New York City’s coastline.

Rooftop Films / Adrienne Shelly Foundation Short Film Grant For Women:
Jennifer Reeder, All Small Bodies

In the aftermath of a catastrophe, two young girls are lost in the woods. Abandoned by all adults, the girls’ sense of the world that was and what will be is influenced by treasured artifacts. When harsh weather and a menacing hunch force Z and Bub to abandon their hand built shelter, they must carve out a utopic new world—reclaiming their autonomy and also their childhood. This feminist speculative fiction is a loose variation of Grimms’ Hansel and Gretel and presents coming-of-age as a supernatural process. The film will be shot in Germany in April 2016.

Rooftop Filmmakers’ Fund Short Film Grants:
Christopher K. Walker & Michael Beach Nichols, Beast of Man

Young men seek salvation and learn to ride bulls at an annual christian camp in western Oklahoma. A verite documentary that promises to be dramatic, compelling, and visually stunning, “Beast of Man” will be an immersion into a world where the summer camp experience for kids as young as six years old blends religion with the most dangerous organized sport in the world. Filming is already complete, and Nichols and Walker aim to complete the movie by April 2016.

Niki Lindroth von Bahr, Market Place
“Market Place” is an animated musical with apocalyptic undertones, shot in analogue stop motion technique with puppets and models. The film is divided into four episodes that respectively take place in a supermarket, a long term hotel, a call center and a hamburger restaurant. All of the settings are located in a modern market place next to a large freeway somewhere in Sweden at night.

In addition to the above grants, Rooftop Films helped negotiate post-production services at Metropolis Films for alumni filmmaker Robert Greene.
Robert Greene, Kate Plays Christine

This nonfiction psychological thriller follows actor Kate Lyn Sheil as she prepares to play the role of Christine Chubbuck, a Florida television host who committed suicide on air in 1974. Christine’s tragic death was the inspiration for Network and the mysteries surrounding her final act haunt Kate and the production.

See a full list of the 2015 grantees with award details and film stills.